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Hay River

    Arctic Interruptions

    Life in Hay River’s High Rise

    This photo essay is the third in our ongoing Arctic Interruptions series. Edited by Sara Komarnisky and Lindsay Bell, this series challenges our expectations about the North and opens new windows on its life and history. This series will appear in Volume 4, Issue 1 of Northern Public Affairs.

    In Canada’s Northwest Territories, rail, river and road meet in the town of Hay River – the transportation “Hub of the North”. Known for its key role in facilitating the movement of natural resource goods and labour in, out, and around the territory, pluri-ethnic Hay River is often described by outsiders as “not the real North.”

    Whether you arrive to Hay River in a World War II era DC-3 operated by Buffalo Airways or by car via the only paved highway, the first structure to catch your eye will be a yellowed seventeen-story building. Mackenzie Place, known locally as simply “the High Rise” is the tallest residential building in the NWT. Completed in 1975, the tower was anticipatory. The 80 units were to be filled by an influx of workers and residents that would accompany the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

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